Hand, finger and wrist injuries are common in office workers who use computer keyboards throughout the day. You may not realize, though, that construction workers are also vulnerable to carpel tunnel syndrome.
Carpel tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that affects the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the wrist. This nerve is essential for both moving your hand and experiencing physical sensations. Regrettably, with repetitive movements, the median nerve can compress, causing a variety of complications.
Identifying construction-associated risks
The nature of the construction industry makes those who work in it susceptible to median nerve damage. Here are some factors that may increase your chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Working with vibrating hand tools, such as drills or jackhammers
- Performing repetitive movements, like hammering or grouting
- Maintaining an awkward arm, hand or wrist position for extended periods
- Working in confined spaces
Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome
It is typically normal to feel some fatigue or soreness after a hard day’s work. Still, if you regularly have the following symptoms, you may have developed work-related carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Numbness in your wrists, hands, fingers or forearms
- Pain in your hands, arms or shoulders
- Loss of muscular control in your hands
If you do not receive adequate care for carpal tunnel syndrome, the condition may worsen. Therefore, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms. Your regular physician may be able to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome and recommend a treatment strategy. If not, he or she may refer you to a hand specialist.
Preventing serious injuries
Even though you use your hands every day, you should not take their health for granted. If you work in the construction industry, you can take steps to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. These include wearing hand braces and using ergonomic tools.
If it is already too late to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you can likely minimize its effect on both your ability to work and your quality of life. Remember, if your medical condition is due to your job duties, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.